Tag Archives: Anko

Japanese Cakes/Wagashi for Vegans/Vegetarians 2: Recipe-Anko/Sweetmeats

WAGASHI-4

One main ingredients in traditional Wagashi/Japanese Cakes is “anko/餡子” (or more simply “an”) which can be translated as “sweetmeats” or “bean jam”.

Actually few people know that it was first conceived and made in a temple in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!

I would like here to introduce a simple way to make one’s own “anko” at home:

INGREDIENTS:

Azuki/Adzuki/red beans (in Japanese: 小豆): 150 g
Sugar: 150g
Salt: a little

RECIPE:

a) Wash azuki lightly. Put in a large basin with an equal amount of water and turn on heat to high.

b) Bring to boil. If beans level is higher that of water, add water till beans are completely covered. Let simmer. Add water 2 or 3 times as soon as the water does not cover completely the beans and this until beans stop floating on water.

c) Drain beans, put them back into basin with same amount of water and turn fire to high. Repeat a) operation.

d) Cook as c) for 40~60 minutes.

e) Mash azuki beans lightly. Add sugar. Simmer and stir to mix, making sure the jam does not overboil.

f) Add a little salt (to your taste) and mix.
Let cool completely.
You can eat it as it is of course, but you will need it to make your cakes!
You can either sieve it to make it a very fine paste, sieve a part and mix it with the unsieved part, or use it as it is. In any case it will be easy to fashion!

WAGASHI-ANKO

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So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
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Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Vegan Japanese Dessert: Yomogi Kintsuba/”Mugwort Sabre Guard”

I visited JA (Japan Agriculture) Agriroad Supermarket in Miwa, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City this morning. Good exercise, as it is a 40-minute bicycle ride from my home up along the Abe River!

I had the pleasure to meet an old acquaintance, Mrs. Natsuko Koyanagi who works there on Wednesdays.
Actually she is one of the 15 out of a total of over 100 members of Agri Road working in shifts at the JA Agriroad Supermarket. All members are local farmer housewives who decided to form this association with subsidies from the Japan Agriculture Ministry as a “side business” to contribute to their husbands’ earnings. They grow their own food, flowers and cook take-away meals all sold at that supermarket. There are quite a few more in this city, all with a different name, but sharing the same purpose.

her specialty is making “Yomogi kin Tsuba” every Wednesday morning.
And I can tell you these do not stay long as they are freshly made in fornt of the customers who very often make personal orders through the phone early in the morning when she is prparing the batter and the sweetmeats!

Yomogi is mugwort.
Not to be confused with tujone, which was used to make the “Green Fairy”, aka Absinthe, which is now prohibited in its origanl form.
Mugwort grows almost everywhere in Japan and has been used as food and medicinal herb since immemrial times.
It is particularly rich in palmitic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, Vitamin A, B1 and B2!
It is particularly popular as tempura and cakes.
It is first crushed and worked into a paste before being mixed with water and flour.
Now, Mrs. Koyanagi uses only “Chikona wheat flour”, that is flour from wheat only grown and ground locally ensuring for the best quality and back tracing.
Moreover, she makes her own anko/sweetmeats with strictly locally-grown azuki beans and sugar.
Nothing else! I can assure you that vegans couls feed on them all day!LOL

Now, why the name “kintsuba”?
Kintsuba means sword guard. It has three openings, the middle one for the blade, the other two for the pins to secure the same blade and guard together.

As explained above, Mrs. Koyanagi prepares her own batter to a sticky paste, solid enough to be able to wrap it around a ball of anko.
She will then drop the cake on a hot plate (coated with a little oil) and press it with her three middle fingers so as to attain the shape of a sword guard!
Important note: Mrs. Koyanagai wears medical gloves during the whole operation.
Actually, one more reason she makes these cakes is because she receives the visit of many Nepalese through her charity work abroad. As her Asian friends are most of the time strict vegetarians, it becomes a double pleasure for her to feed them!

Incidentally, yomogi kintsuba was a very popular cake with the samurais of old times!

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Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Comestiblog, Chronicles Of A Curious Cook, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Palate To Pen, Yellin Yakimono Gallery, Tokyo Terrace, Hilah Cooking, More than a Mount Full, Arkonite Bento, Happy Little Bento; 5 Star Foodie; Jefferson’s Table; Oyster Culture; Gourmet Fury; Island Vittles; Good Beer & Country Boys; Rubber Slippers In Italy; Color Food daidokoro/Osaka;/a; The Witchy Kitchen; Citron Et Vanille, Lunsj Med Buffet/Estonian Gastronomy (English), Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat

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Japanese Dessert: Matcha Anko Roll/ Matcha Tea & Sweetmeats Roll Cake

MATCHA-ANKO-ROLL

The “East meets West” expression has been used so many times that it has almost become corny, but this particular (and simple) cake definitely deserves the appellation!
Matcha & Anko Roll Cake:

INGREDIENTS: for 8 cakes/2 sponge sheets baked in 15 cm square mold

-Eggs: 2
-Flour: 30 g
-Sugar: 30 g
-Matcha: 2 small teaspoons
-Anko/Sweetmeats: 15 g x 8=30 g (See Recipe here)

RECIPE:

-In a large bowl, break the eggs and mix the sugar, half at a time. Beat until the mixture turns whitish and fluffy. Only then add 1 tablespoon of water and mix.

-Add tea half at a time and beat it in.

-Place cooking paer inside an oven square mold and pour half of the cake mixture. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 8~10 minutes. Repeat with the second half of the cake mixture.

-Take the ckae sheet and its cooking paper out. Turn sheet upside down onto a piece of cellophane paper. Once completely cooled down, take the cooking paper out carefully. Trim the sponge cake and cut into four 5×10 cm pieces (three along and one across).

-Place a ball ofanko in the middle of each piece of sponge cake and “lock/wrap” the sponge cake around the anko. Press the ends togeteher to make sure tey don’t open again. If they keep opening seal ends with syrup.

To be enjoyed with cold or hot green tea!

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